When Palestinian self-rule expands to embrace most of the West Bank, its success or failure--absent extremist spasms--will rest on two ingredients: the cooperation of Israel and the presence of a competent, politically open Palestinian administration. On both counts, a chastening lesson comes from the Gaza Strip, where self-rule began with the establishment of Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority in May 1994. That dust-blown, dirt-poor piece of land, home to nearly a million Palestinians, is as sad a place now as it was then--and Israelis and Palestinians share the blame for its mood of discontent.

Perhaps predictably, the main complaint in Gaza is...

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